The Barts and Smithfields for Sinclair Johnston & Partners

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It doesn’t happen every day to jump into the history of "The Barts".

Londoners like to give nicknames to everything around, and The Barts makes no exception: its official name is The Royal Hospital of St Bartholomew, one of the oldest hospital in Europe, being founded in 1123 and still occupying its original site and providing all medical services.

I had recently the opportunity to shoot at The Barts for a leading engineering firm, Sinclair Johnston & Partners, who mastered the refurbishment works of its West Wing. Their project has been conceived as landmark to showcase how a historic building can be sympathetically modernised to provide an appropriate environment for 21st century medicine.

The finished building houses works of contemporary art and has won an award for the best patient environment in the NHS.

On the same day and for the same client, I have then shifted my lens to the nearby Smithfield Market, another iconic site of London.

On the middle age Smooth Field, a broad grassy area with easy access to grazing and water located beyond London Wall, Smithfield established itself as London’s livestock market and other popular gatherings, remaining so for almost 1000 years.

Smithfield_as_shown_on_the_Agas_map_of_1561
Smithfield_as_shown_on_the_Agas_map_of_1561

Other than livestock slaughter place, lately forbidden in the Victorian period , Smithfield has borne witness to many bloody executions of heretics and political rebels over the centuries.

Smithfield Market, a Grade II listed-covered market building, was designed by Victoria architect Sir Horace Jones in the second half of the 19th century.

East and West Smithfield were built over underground railways sidings which enabled livestock to be brought directly into the markets. Nowadays these tunnels are partly used as public car park and by the London Underground network.

The more recent Smithfield Poultry Market, constructed in 1961-1963 to replace the previous Victorian building destroyed by fire in 1958, is covered by a post-tensioned concrete shell roof, which is claimed to be the largest clear span dome roof in Europe.

Lately faced the prospect of demolition, the Corporation of London’s public enquiry in 2012 drew widespread support for an urban regeneration plan intent upon preserving Smithfield’s historical identity. Sinclair Johnston & Partners were appointed to undertake a detailed inspection of the East and West Smithfield and Smithfield Poultry Market.

A very special thanks for her kindest support to Rebecca Hallaway, Sinclair Johnston marketing manager.

photography :: Marco Joe Fazio

client :: Sinclair Johnston & Partners